Rumors of the Appleseed Cast's demise have been greatly exaggerated. If anything, the Lawrence, Kansas, quartet's latest release, Peregrine
, proves that the band is far more relevant, emotive and thought-provoking than ever before. Although more than a few fans wondered if the album would ever see the light of day, the brooding opening strains of the first track, "Ceremony," set the stage for some of the spookiest, most atmospheric 55 minutes of music ever to emerge from Appleseed Cast or even the Midwest. Two key lineup changes this time around producer John Congleton (Explosions in the Sky, Modest Mouse) behind the boards and drummer Nate Richardson (the Casket Lottery, Coalesce) behind the skins have made a world's difference in the band's sound. Unlike previous albums, which seemed to cling to some unspoken, predetermined format, Peregrine
is filled with the kind of flowing, elongated instrumentals and jagged, haunting vocals that make experimental music worth the risk.